Cucumbers Picklers versus Slicers

Friends Drift Inn Gardening
How to Choose Cucumbers

Cucumbers Shop Farmers Market First

Yesterday’s Appalachian News Express features a recipe for Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe

Little yellow blossoms on cucumber vines make me smile. Well usually. I do not know if it is the exceptionally wet hot and humid conditions, or perhaps the new location in our garden; but the cucumbers are happy. Joyful like rabbits and pro-creating like mad! My canner has been going non-stop for most of the past week.

Yesteday, Shauna from Gluten Free Girl hosted a #pickleparty on twitter. Since I posted a Sweet and Spicy Pickles recipe this week, and my Bread and Butter pickles will be here on Friday I thought maybe you would like to know how to buy cucumber for pickling…or better yet how to grow your own.

For best results, you want home grown cucumbers. Grocery store cucumbers are often coated with “food grade wax.” Wax stops pickling spices from absorbing into your cucumbers. Not to mention, the idea of eating something you make candles with just doesn’t sound that appealing! Giggles

Slicers vs. Picklers

Pickling Cucumber in foreground, Salad Cucumber background
Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe

Slicing cucumbers are smooth skinned, and mostly are a rich dark green. Their skin is thick, their flesh is soft. True to their name, they slice up beautifully and make wonderful additions to garden salads. This year I am growing the Muncher variety. The vines have not sprawled very far, but they sure do put on the fruit! If you are a market grower, definitely check out this variety!

Other slicers popular here in Appalachia are Marketmores and   Straight Eights. My family has grown both for years.

Pickling Cucumber with rough bumpy skin, very blocky
Pickling cucumbers are bumpy and chunky. Their skin is thin; their flesh crisp. Pickling cucumbers like nothing better than to be pickled taking to the application of salt and vinegars like a duck takes to water.

Boston Pickling is one of my favorites. This year, in addition to “normal sized” cucumbers we are growing little Parisian Pickles which make an awesome cornchion or gherkin.

Normally, Pickling cucumbers should be about 6 – 7 inches long. If they get bigger, as long as the fruit seems sound, I will cube them for relishes.

How to Buy or Choose for Canning Pickles

Experts will tell you the best cucumbers are those without much white showing on the skin. White and yellow are indications of age. Let me tell you something, I pick every day and some varieties of cucumbers just naturally have some white streaking…or tend to be whiter toward the blossom end.

For best pickling, choose cucumbers that are firm and without blemishes. Don’t get too strung out about the “white” factor. If they are big and fat and yellow….pass them by. Have fun in the garden. If gardening is not your thing….Shop Farmers Market First
And don’t forget Saturday, August 13 is Can It Forward 2011 Home Canning Event

Friends Drift Inn Recipes Gardening and Hot Flashes

Sweet and Spicky Pickles Home Canned

Sweet and Spicy Pickles

Talking Heads Talking Canning Can It Forward

Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe

About Joyce Pinson

Joyce Friend Pinson is a regional farm-to-table columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. She is a local television host. Her column show and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer in Appalachia. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook. And giggle.